Kim Back to Defend
In three starts in 2023, Hyo Joo Kim has recorded three top-10s, including a tie for third at last week’s DIO Implant LA Open. The Republic of Korea native captured her fifth career LPGA Tour title last year with a final-round 71 to reach -11 and defeat Hinako Shibuno by two strokes.
Look back at Kim’s final-round highlights at the 2022 LOTTE Championship.
Two other LOTTE Championship champions are in the field, in addition to defending champion Hyo Joo Kim. Brooke Henderson, who won back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019, defeating Azhara Munoz in 2018 and Eun-Hee Ji in 2019. Cristie Kerr won her 19th LPGA Tour title with her victory in Hawaii in 2017 with a final round 6-under 66, holding off Lydia Ko, In Gee Chun, and Su-Yeon Jang for a three-shot victory.
The 2023 rookie class will be well-represented, with 31 of 31 in the field in Hawaii; which includes Minami Katsu, a 10-time winner on the JLPGA Tour; as an amateur, she became the youngest winner in JLPGA Tour history when she won the 2014 KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies Open at age 15. She is coming off a T7 finish in only her second start as a rookie. Alexa Pano, as an amateur, was the first three-time national finalist in the Drive, Chip, and Putt competition and was the youngest player in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. People’s Republic of China native, two-time Epson Tour winner, and Epson Tour Gaelle Truet Rookie of the Year in 2022, Xiaowen Yin makes only her third start of the season at the LOTTE Championship.